Lebanese Cease-fire Breaking Down; Christians Urge Israeli Intervention

The cease-fire in south Lebanon appears to have broken down again and Christian villagers are urging Israel to re-intervene to prevent Palestinian terrorists from “massacring us.” About 500 Lebanese Christians from six border villages converged on the open fence at Metullah today appealing for Israeli artillery fire to silence terrorist guns.

Artillery exchanges have been heard around the clock for the past few days. The Christians claim the Palestinians are shelling their strongholds in gross violation of the cease-fire that went into effect last month. Several days ago, Maj. Sa’ad Haddad, commander of Christian forces in south Lebanon, told Israeli correspondents that the Palestinians were using the cease-fire to bring up reinforcements of men and weapons and establish new positions closer to Christian villages.

The cease-fire provided that Christian and Moslem forces maintain the status quo and that Israel pull its forces out of Lebanon where they had been actively assisting the Christians for some time. A new Lebanese regular army is supposed to occupy all strongholds in south Lebanon to keep the peace but there has been no sign of it so far.

Today’s demonstration at the open fence called on Israel to “defend our lives.” One placard said, “Don’t let them massacre us.” But Israel apparently has no intention of resuming its intervention in the Christian-Moslem conflict at this time. Defense Minister Ezer Weizman has ordered Israeli artillery and other forces not to become involved in the exchanges of fire in south Lebanon, ostensibly in order to preserve whatever is left of the cease-fire. Israel is believed to have come under strong U.S. pressure to stay clear of the fighting in Lebanon.

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